Chai-Bo - Jewish Fitness


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Chai Bo - Jewish Fitness

Shalom and welcome to Chai-Bo (come-life), a program of Jewish fitness that combines Exercise, Torah, Talmud, and Jewish martial and spiritual arts. It is based on the Chai Bo fitness program practiced in the 1930's and 1940's in the Jewish community ghetto in Shanghai China, near Beth Aharon. (see the book, Japanese, Nazis and Jews: The Jewish Refugee Community of Shanghai, 1938-1945, Yad Vashem Archives). It is the result of the influences of Chinese martial arts and culture, and Lithuanian and Polish Jewish minhag as studied at the Schvitzer Yeshiva of Shanghai..

Chai-Bo Intro
Chai-Bo Workout
Chai-Bo Diet
Chai-Bo Study

What is Chai-Bo?

Chai-Bo is a Jewish Fitness Program that combines exercise and Jewish study.

The Hebrew word Chai means LIFE, and has a numerical value of eighteen.

The Hebrew word Bo mean COME, as in "come here" and has a numerical value of two.

Together Chai-Bo is a program to enhance and promote a longer and healthier physical and spiritual life, through intervals of eighteen minutes of exercise followed by study each day.

What is the Chai-Bo Workout?

The Chai portion of the Chai-Bo workout consists of eighteen minutes of an initial fitness workout.

If you start this regimen on the day after Tisha b'Av (the 9th of Av), over the seven weeks of consolation, through Elul... by the time Rosh HaShana starts, you will be in better physical and spiritual shape.

First, you need to spend four minutes warming up. Wearing sneakers and loose fitting workout apparel, face East towards Jerusalem and the rising Sun. Stand normally, as if you were about to walk.

Now get into the warm-up starting position.
Stand normally with your feet flat on the floor. Place your left foot slightly ahead of the right, as if you were just stepping off with your left foot to take a walk. Now Stand on the balls of your feet, with your knees bent. Clench your hands into fists and place them at chin height. This is the Starting Position

With your knees bent slightly and fists clenched you should look as if you are in a boxing stance.

- For the next four minutes you will punch with your left and right hands.
Throw a punch with your left hand while stepping forward with your right foot.
Now throw a punch forward with your right fist and step forward with your left foot.
Quickly throw these punches at chin height and continue for four minutes

Now it is time for four minutes of front kicks.
Return to the starting position with your knees slightly bent and your left foot flat on the floor.
Keeping your back straight, fists clenched, and kick your right foot up as high as your can.
Kick seven times with your right foot, stretching your hamstrings.

Now, switch positions and kick with your left foot for seven repetitions.
Continue switching for the next two minutes.

Next for the next two minutes, facing East, you should continue doing front kicks, but instead of starting from a standing position, you need to bend your kicking leg at the knee so that your knee nearly touches the floor. Kick your leg up from this fencing-lunge position.

You have now completed a warmup of four minutes and four minutes of forward kicking. Now we will continue with four minutes of hip exercises.

Return to a starting position of facing East, standing straight, with your feet slightly apart, and your fists clench at chin level. Lift your left knee up, so that it is waist high, and bring your left elbow down with your clenched fist so that your knee and elbow meet each other at the waist.

Repeat this move with your left knee and elbow for a count of seven.
Now switch to your right knee and elbow for a count of seven

Repeat this exercise so that you have done seven repetitions of seven on your right side and seven repetitions of seven on your right side.

Return to your starting position.
Starting with your left knee and elbow. Bring your left knee up to waist height, and your left elbow down to meet the knee. Now extend your left leg out to the side in a kick. Your body will tilt to the right as you snap your leg out to the left.

Repeat this movement for a count of seven, and then switch to the right side.

For the next two minutes, lying on your back, do stomach crunches to exercise your abdominals

For your final two minutes, return to the warmup punches, snapping your left arm out in a forward punch, and then your right arm out in a punch.

What is the Chai-Bo Study Program?

Each morning, after warming down, one should study either a daily page (or daf) of the day, some sentences from the weekly Torah or Haftorah portion, a prayer, History, or an application of Talmud into one's daily life.

To help get you started, Chai-Bo lists the following Jewish writings on the topic of exercise and fitness.

Daily Blessing for the Ability to Stretch Our Bodies
Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohaynu Memelch Ha-Olam Mahteer Ahsurim....

Daily Blessing for the Ability Strengthen Our Backs
Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohaynu Memelch Ha-Olam Zokayf K'fufim....

Daily Blessing for the Guidance We Our Given on Life's Path
Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohaynu Memelch Ha-Olam Ha-Maycheen Meetagay Ga ver....

Daily Blessing for the Strength We Are Given
Baruch Ata Adonai, Elohaynu Memelch Ha-Olam Ha Notayn Layah afe ko'ach ....

I gratefully thank you, our living and eternal sovereign, for you have retruned my sould within me with sompassionate abundance in your faithfulness.

From Maimonides, The Mishneh Torah, Chapter Four of Hilchot Yesoday ha Torah, Hilchot De'ot
One should exercise vigorously every morning until the body becomes warm. Then one should rest [warm down].

On The Importance of Exercise, a Chai-Bo paraphrasing from Midrash Temurah
Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Ishmael were strolling in Jerusalem when they were approached by a sick person. The sick person asked the Rabbis for advice on how he could be cured from his ills.

Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Ishmael asked the man his occupation.
The sick man replied that he was a farmer, a tiller of the soil, and here in his hand was his sickle, the tool he used for farming.
The rabbis asked the man, "why do you need to till the soil when all the bounty comes from the Lord?"
The tiller of the soil replied that unless he plowed, weeded, and fertilized the soil, nothing would be able to sprout.
"Ahh," replied the Rabbis, "if you do not weed and plow and fertilize, the Earth will not yield you its fruit. And if fruit is produced but not watered it will not ripen, it will die and not live. One must therefore be a tiller of the soil for one's own body, too. The Lord provides one with life, but one must fertilize, water, and nourish the body to be complete."
Thus we have an obligation to eat properly and exercise.

From The Code of Jewish Law, Chapter 31
Even if one eats well, and follows the advice of healers, if one does not exercise, he will have physical discomfort and weakness.

Maimonides on Exercise
Exercise will remove the injury that is caused by most bad habits that people have.

Vigorous body movements and exercise that increase one's rate of breathing are beneficial.

When sedentary, natural heat and excess remain intact; exercise ignites these excesses and natural heat and expels them from the body

Increasing the Heart Rate During Exercise You Shall Love the Lord your God With All your Heart (from the Shema prayer, taken from Deutoronomy 6:5)

The Hebrew word for heart (Lev) and its derivatives are mentioned 827 times in the Bible. It knew that the by opening (or circumscribing) one's heart, and acting based on the heart made one a better person. Tefillin are placed on the arm to be near the heart, and amulets upon necklaces are worn around the neck to dangle above the heart. Midrash Rabbah describes the heart as a decision-making organ. Thus a healthy heart, one that is strengthened through exercise and study, makes you a stronger and better person.

Maimonides' Prayer of the Physician

Almighty God, You have created the human body with your infinite wisdom. In the body You have combined ten thousand times ten thousand organs that act continually and harmoniously to preserve the whole in all its beauty - the body which in the container of the mortal soul. They are ever-acting in perfect order, agreement and accord. Yet, when the frailty of matter or the unbridling passions deranges this order or interrupts this accord, then forces clash and the body crumbles into the primal dust from which it derived. You send to man diseases as beneficent messengers to foretell approaching danger and to urge one to avert it.

The above Prayer reminds us that through exercise and fitness we can combat future illnesses. Responsibility was be accepted in one's own health.

In development
A Prayer for Sunday Morning

Psalm 24.
It is Sunday morning, the Sabbath has ended. Just as David bought land in preparation for a Temple who could not build (Solomon built it), we need to prepare for the week, and perform tasks even if we will not see the goals to completion.

A Psalm of David. God is the full Earth, the inhabited land, and those who dwell in it. For God inaugurated it upon seas, established it upon rivers. Who may ascend the mountain of God, and who may stand in the place of his sanctity? One with hands that are clean and a heart that is pure; who has not sworn in vain, one who has not sworn in deceit. Such a person shall receive God's blessing, judicious kindness, and salvation. This is the generation of those who seek God, those who strive for God's Presence - Israel's descendants, Selah.
Entrance Gates, raise up your heads, be uplifted, so that the King of Glory may enter. Who is the King of Glory? God, the mighty and strong, God, the strong in battle.
Entrance Gates, raise up your heads, so that the King of Glory may enter. Who is he, this King of Glory? God of Legions, He is the King of Glory, Selah.

A Prayer for Monday Morning

Psalm 48. It is Monday morning, a day of toil. Your temporal work should have as a goal the creation of a better future world, a future Jerusalem. Remember the ramparts of Jerusalem... or the meaning of the lessons Judaism teaches, and impart them to the succeeding generations.
A Shir (song), a psalm by the sons of Korach (note that even though Korach was killed in the wilderness, his descendants had a rightful place in national events and service to the people and God).
Great is God and much praised (Gadol Adonai UmHoolal M'od),
In the city of our God , Mount of God's Holiness.
Fairest of sites, joy of all the Earth, Mount Zion, by the northern side of the great sovereign's city. In her palaces God is known as the stronghold. For, behold, the kings assembled and came together; they saw and were astounded, they were confounded and quickly fled. They were gripped with trembling, they convulsed like a woman giving birth.
With an East Wind, You smashed the invading ships from Tarshish.
As we heard, so we saw in the city of our God -- may God establish it to eternity, Selah!

In the midst of the sanctuary, We hoped, O God, for your kindness...
Your righteousness fills your right hand...
Walk about Zion and encircle her, count her towers. Mark well her ramparts, raise up her palaces, that you may recount it to succeeding generations
For this is God, our God, forever and ever, who will guide us like a parent guides a youth.

A Prayer for Tuesday Morning

Psalm 82. A psalm of Asaf for the third day of the week. Remember the third day of creation. The world should contain justice and equity. Our actions affect the lives of our neighbors, and their actions affect us.

God stands in the Adat El, the Divine Assembly, among those who seek out judtice and seek truth, in the midst of the judges, God will judge.
Judges... Until when will you judge lawlessly and favor the presence of the wicked ?? Why do you not correct injustice? Why do you walk in darkness?
Judge fairly the needy and the orphan, exonerate the poor and impoverished.
Rescue the needy and destitute, and deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Banish prejudice and selfishness.
Am I mistaken to believe that your have the heavenly qualities to be judges?
Like most people, you shall die, and like one of the princes, you shall fall. And what achievements will you have to show for it?
Arise, O God, judge the earth, for You shall seek Your inheritance among all the nations and seek justice among the just of the whole world.

A Prayer for Wednesday Morning

Psalm 94:1 through 95:3.

A Prayer for Thursday Morning

Psalm 81.

A Prayer for Friday Morning

Psalm 93.

A Prayer for Rosh Chodesh Morning

Psalm 104.

A Prayer for Elul to Shemini Atzeret Mornings

Psalm 27.

The Ten Psalms that Reb Nahman of Bratslav Prescribed for a Complete Remedy of Body and Spirit

Recite as a unit Psalms 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137 and 150.

What is the Chai-Bo Diet?

Overeating causes illness (Ben Sira 27)

More people die from overeating than from hunger (Shabbat Chapter 33a)

One who denies himself the proper food is considered a sinner (Taanit Chaoter 11)

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